Second Council of Orange against the Semi-Pelagians

Saint Caesarius of Arles presided over
the Second Council of Orange 529 A.D.

The Second Council of Orange (529A.D.) is an anomaly in Denzinger's Sources of Catholic Dogma because it is a surprising twist and turn where not only the Pelagians are anathamized, but also the Semi-pelagians! The Second Council of Orange was strongly influenced by Augustine of Hippo's Anti-Pelagian writings, and leans in favor of our Calvinism, in the same way as the later Jansenists. Unlike the anathamas against the Jansenists later in Denzinger (who were basically Catholic Calvinists and included the influential Blaise Pascale) the Second Council of Orange was accepted as Orthodox by Roman Catholics.

I'm reading through Denzinger now, and was inspired to share these Denzinger entries from the Second Council of Orange after seeing them referenced by a great post by Michael Horton at the White Horse Inn. 

COUNCIL OF ORANGE II 529 *

Confirmed by Boniface II (against the Semipelagians)

Original Sin, Grace, Predestination *

173b To us, according to the admonition and authority of the Apostolic See, it has seemed just and reasonable that we should set forth to be observed by all, and that we should sign with our own hands, a few chapters transmitted * to us by the Apostolic See, which were collected by the ancient fathers from the volumes of the Sacred Scripture especially in this cause, to teach those who think otherwise than they ought. . . .

174 [I. Original sin] Can. 1. If anyone says that by the offense of Adam's transgression not the whole man, that is according to body and soul, was changed for the worse [St. Augustine], * but believes that while the liberty of the soul endures without harm, the body only is exposed to corruption, he is deceived by the error of Pelagius and resists the Scripture which says:"The soul, that has sinned, shall die" [ Ezech. 18:20]; and: "Do you not know that to whom you show yourselves se rvants to obey, you are the servants of him whom you obey?"[ Rom. 6:16]; and: Anyone is adjudged the slave of him by whom he is overcome [ 2 Pet.2:19].

175 Can. 2. If anyone asserts that Adam's transgression injured him alone and not his descendants, or declares that certainly death of the body only, which is the punishment of sin, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man into the whole human race, he will do an injustice to God, contradicting the Apostle who says: Through one man sin entered in the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed into all men, in whom all have sinned[Rom. 5:12; Cf. St. Augustine]. *

176 [II Grace] Can. 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be bestowed by human invocation, but that the grace itself does not bring it to pass that it be invoked by us, he contradicts Isaias the Prophet, or the Apostle who says the same thing: "I was found by those who were not seeking me: I appeared openly to those, who did not ask me"[ Rom. 10:20; cf.Is. 65:1 ].

177 Can. 4. If anyone contends that in order that we may be cleansed from sin, God waits for our good will, but does not acknowledge that even the wish to be purged is produced in us through the infusion and operation of the Holy Spirit, he opposes the Holy Spirit Himself, who says through Solomon: "Good will is prepared by the Lord"[ Prov. 8:35: LXX], and the Apostle who beneficially says:"It is God, who works in us both to will and to accomplish according to his good will" [Phil. 2:13].

178 Can. 5. If anyone says, that just as the increase [of faith] so also the beginning of faith and the very desire of credulity, by which we believe in Him who justifies the impious, and (by which) we arrive at the regeneration of holy baptism (is) not through the gift of grace, that is, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit reforming our will from infidelity to faith, from impiety to piety, but is naturally in us, he is proved (to be) antagonistic to the doctrine of the Apostles, since blessed Paul says:We trust, that he who begins a good work in us, will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus[Phil. 1:6]; and the following: It was given to you for Christ not only that you may believe in Him, but also, that you may suffer for Him[Phil. 1:29]; and:By grace you are made safe through faith, and this not of yo urselves; for it is the gift of God[Eph. 2:8. For those who say that faith, by which we believe in God, is natural, declare that all those who are alien to the Church of Christ are in a measure faithful [cf. St. Augustine]. * 

179 Can. 6. If anyone asserts that without the grace of God mercy is divinely given to us when we believe, will, desire, try, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, urge, but does not confess that through the infusion and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in us, it is brought about that we believe, wish, or are able to do all these things as we ought, and does not join either to human humility or obedience the help of grace, nor agree that it is the gift of His grace that we are obedient and humble, opposes the Apostle who says: What have you, that you have not received? [1 Cor. 4:7]; and:By the grace of God I am that, which I am [ 1 Cor. 15:10 ; cf. St. Augustine and St. Prosper of Aquitaine]. *

180 Can. 7. If anyone affirms that without the illumination and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,--who gives to all sweetness in consenting to and believing in the truth,--through the strength of nature he can think anything good which pertains to the salvation of eternal life, as he should, or choose, or consent to salvation, that is to the evangelical proclamation, he is deceived by the heretical spirit, not understanding the voice of God speaking in the Gospel:"Without me you can do nothi ng" [John 15:5]; and that of the Apostle: Not that we are fit to think everything by ourselves as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is,from God[2 Cor. 3:5; cf. St. Augustine]. *

181 Can. 8. If anyone maintains that some by mercy, but others by free will, which it is evident has been vitiated in all who have been born of the transgression of the first man, are able to come to the grace of baptism, he is proved to be inconsistent with the true faith. For he asserts that the free will of all was not weakened by the sin of the first man, or assuredly was injured in such a way, that nevertheless certain ones have the power without revelation of God to be able by themselves to seek the mystery of eternal salvation. How contrary this is, the Lord Himself proves, who testifies that not some, but no one can come to Him, except whom the Father draws[John 6:44], and just as he says to PETER:"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because fles h and blood hath not revealed it to you, but my Father, whois in heaven" [Matt. 16:17]; and the Apostle: No one can say Lord Jesus except in the Holy Spirit [1 Cor. 12:3; cf- St. Prosper]. *

182 Can. 9 . "The assistance of God.It is a divine gift, both when we think rightly and when we restrain our feet from falsity and injustice; for as often as we do good, God operates in us and with us, that we may work" [St. Prosper ].*

183 Can. 10. The assistance of God. The assistance of God ought to be implored always even by those who have been reborn and have been healed, that they may arrive at a good end, or may be able to continue in good work [cf. St. Prosper]. *

184 Can. 11. "The obligation of vows. No one would rightly vow anything to God, unless he accepts from Him what he vows" [St. Prosper] * as it is written: And what we have received from your hand, we give to you [ 1 Chron. 29:14 ].

185 Can. 12. "God loves such as us.God loves us, such as we shall be by His gift, not such as we are by our own merit" [St. Prosper].*

186 Can. 13. The restoration of free will. Freedom of will weakened in the first man cannot be repaired except through the grace of baptism; cc once it has been lost, it cannot be restored except by Him by whom it could be given. Thus Truth itself says: If the Son liberates you, then you will be truly free" [ John 8:36 ; St. Prosper]. *

187 Can. 14. "No wretched person is freed from misery, however small, unless he is first reached by the mercy of God" [St. Prosper] * just as the Psalmist says:Let thy mercy, Lord, speedily anticipate us [ Ps. 78:8 ]; and also: "My God, His mercy will prevent me"[Ps. 58:11 ].

188 Can. 15. "From that which God fashioned, Adam was changed by his own iniquity, but for the worse. From that which injustice has effected, the faithful (man) is changed by the grace of God, but for the better. Therefore, the former change was (the result) of the first transgression, the latter according to the Psalmistis the change of the right hand of the Most High [ Ps. 76:11 ]" [St. Prosper]. *

189 Can. 16. "Let no one glory in that which he seems to possess, as if he did not receive (it), or think that he has received (it) for this reason, because the sign appeared from without, either that it might be read, or sounded that it might be heard. For thus says the Apostle: If justice ( is) through the law, then Christ died for nothing [ Gal. 2:21]: ascending on high he led captivity captive, he gave gifts to men[ Eph. 4:8; cf.Ps. 67:19]. Whoever has, has from Him, but whoever denies that he has from Him, either does not truly possess, or that,which he possesses, is taken away from him [ Matt. 25:29]" [St. Prosper]. *

190 Can. 17. "Worldly desire creates the fortitude of the Gentiles, but the charityof God, whichis diffused in our hearts,not by free will, which is from us, butby the Holy Spirit, which is given to us[ Rom. 5:5] produces the fortitude of the Christians" [St. Prosper].*

191 Can. 18."That grace is preceded by no merits.A reward is due to good works, if they are performed; but grace, which is not due, precedes, that they may be done" [St. Prosper]. *

192 Can. 19. "That no one is saved except by God's mercy. Even if human nature remained in that integrity in which it was formed, it would in no way save itself without the help of its Creator; therefore, since without the grace of God it cannot guard the health which it received, how without the grace of God will it be able to recover what it has lost?" [St. Prosper] *

193 Can. 20."That without God man can do no good. God does many good things in man, which man does not do; indeed man can do no good that God does not expect that man do" [St. Prosper].*

194 Can. 21."Nature and grace.Just as the Apostle most truly says to those, who, wishing to be justified in the law, have fallen even from grace: if justice is from the law, then Christ died in vain [ Gal. 2:21 ]; so it is most truly said to those who think that grace, which the faith of Christ commends and obtains, is nature: If justice is through nature, then Christ died in vain. For the law was already here, and it did not justify; nature, too, was already present, and it did not justify. Therefore, Christ did not die in vain, that the law also might be fulfilled through Him, who said:I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill (it) [Matt. 5:17], and in order that nature ruined by Adam, might be repaired by Him, who said: He cameto seek and to save that which had been lost[ Luke 19:10]" [St. Prosper].*

195 Can. 22. "Those things which are peculiar to men.No one has anything of his own except lying and sin. But if man has any truth and justice, it is from that fountain for which we ought to thirst in this desert, that bedewed by some drops of water from it, we may not falter on the way" [St. Prosper].*

196 Can. 23. "The good will of God and of man. Men do their own will, not God's, when they do what displeases God; but when they do what they wish, in order to serve the divine will, even though willingly they do what they do, nevertheless it is the will of Him by whom what they will is both prepared and ordered" [St. Prosper]. *

197 Can. 24. "The branches of the vine. Thus there are branches in the vine,not that they may bestow anything upon the vine, but that they may receive from it the means by which they may live; so truly the vine is in the branches, that it may furnish vital nourishment to these, not take it from them. And by this it is an advantage to the disciples, not to Christ, that each have Christ abiding in him, and that each abide in Christ. For if the branch is cut off, another can sprout forth from the living root; but that which has been cut off, cannot live without tile root [John 15:5 ff.]" [St. Prosper]. *

198 Can. 25. "The love with which we love God.Truly to love God is a gift of God. He Himself has granted that He be loved, who though not loved loves. Although we were displeasing we were loved, so that there might be produced in us [something] by which we might please. For theSpiritwhom we love together with the Father and the Son pours forth the charity[of the Father and the Son]in our hearts[Rom. 5:5]" [St. Prosper]. *

199 And thus according to the statements of the Holy Scriptures written above, or the explanations of the ancient Fathers, God being propitious, we ought to proclaim and to believe that through the sin of the first man free will was so changed and so weakened that afterwards no one could either love God as he ought, or believe in God, or perform what is good on account of God, unless the grace of divine mercy reached him first. Therefore, we believe that in the [case of] the just Abel, and Noah and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the multitude of the ancient saints that illustrious faith which the Apostle Paul proclaims in their praise [Heb. 11], was conferred not by tile good of nature, which had been given before in [the case of] Adam, but through the grace of God. Even after the coming of the Lord we know and likewise believe that this grace was not held in the free will of all who desired to be baptized, but was bestowed by the bounty of Christ, according to what has already been said often, and Paul the Apostle declares: It has been given to you for Christ, not only, that you may believe in him, but also that you may suffer for him [Phil. 1:29]; and this: God, who has begun a good work in you, will perfect it even to the day of our Lord[Phil. 1:6]; and this: By grace you are made safe through faith, and this not of yourselves: for it is the gift of God[Eph. 2:8]; and that which the Apostle says about himself:I have obtained mercy, that I may be faithful [ 1 Cor. 7:25;1 Tim. 1:13]; he did not say: "because I was," but: "that I may be." And that: What have you, that you have not received?[1 Cor. 4:7]. And that:Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights [ Jas. 1:17 ]. And that: No one has anything, except it has been given him from above [John 3:27]. Innumerable are the testimonies of the Sacred Scriptures which can be brought forward to prove grace, but they are passed over out of a desire for brevity; also because, in truth, more [proofs] will not profit those for whom a few do not suffice.

[III. Predestination] According to the Catholic faith we believe this also, that after grace has been received through baptism, all the baptized with the help and cooperation of Christ can and ought to fulfill what pertains to the salvation of the soul, if they will labor faithfully. We not only do not believe that some have been truly predestined to evil by divine power, but also with every execration we pronounce anathema upon those, if there are [any such], who wish to believe so great an evil. This, too, we profess and believe unto salvation, that in every good work we do not begin, and afterwards are helped by the mercy of God, but He Himself, with no preceding good services [on our part], previously inspires us with faith and love of Him, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacraments of baptism, and after baptism with His help be able to perform those [acts] which are pleasing to Him. So very clearly we should believe that the faith-so admirable-both of that famous thief, whom the Lord restored to his native land of paradise [Luke 23:43], and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent [ Acts 10:3], and of Zacheus, who deserved to receive the Lord Himself [Luke 19:6], was not from nature, but a gift of God's bounty.

Denzinger, Sources of Catholic Dogma, #173-199, http://www.catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma2.php

 

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